Treatment and Prevention

Treatment and Prevention


Know your treatment goals


The treatment goals of atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) start with a proper diagnosis through an in-depth examination from a physician. The exam usually includes questions about your history and often an EKG or ECG. Some patients may need a thorough electrophysiology study.


Prevention and Risk Reduction


Although no one is able to absolutely guarantee that a stroke or a clot can be preventable, there are ways to reduce risks for developing these problems.

After a patient is diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the ideal goals may include:

  • Restoring the heart to a normal rhythm (called rhythm control)
  • Reducing an overly high heart rate (called rate control)
  • Preventing blood clots (called prevention of thromboembolism such as stroke)
  • Managing risk factors for stroke
  • Preventing additional heart rhythm problems
  • Preventing heart failure


Getting Back on Beat


Avoiding atrial fibrillation and subsequently lowering your stroke risk can be as simple as foregoing your morning cup of coffee. In other words, some AFib cases are only as strong as their underlying cause. If hyperthyroidism is the cause of AFib, treating the thyroid condition may be enough to make AFib go away.

Doctors can use a variety of different medications to help control the heart rate during atrial fibrillation.

"These medications, such as beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, work on the AV node," says Dr. Andrea Russo of University of Pennsylvania Health System. "They slow the heart rate and may help improve symptoms. However, they do not 'cure' the rhythm abnormality, and patients still require medication to prevent strokes while remaining in atrial fibrillation."

Recent Discussions From The Newly Diagnosed Forum
MJODRH avatar

Hello!  I am 49 years old and a few months ago I was diagnosed with AFib.  About a year and a half ago wore a Zio patch and the results came back as SVT.  My medication was chaged to Hydralazine for HBP and Metropolol.  At first I seemed to respond well but then the palpitations/irregular heartbeat would return.  My meds would be increased and wash, rinse, repeat on the effects.  As my palpitation seemed to get worse, more often and longer, the doctor did another Zio patch.  When the results came back it showed I had Afib and I received like 4 or 5 calls from doctors to work out getting me on an appropriate thinner and to an EP.  My medication was increased again with minimal if any improvement.  This journey I've been on has been very frustrating and scary as it seems no matter the treatment what they episodes just get worse.   What stated as just some random palpiation has turned into episodes every few days that will last for ~12 hours and almost always start in the evening or during the night.  These episodes make me feel tired, anxious, and just overal lethargic.  Also, it increases my urine output and can keep we awake with ongoing trips to the bathroom.  The increased uriniation truly bothers me as as it is dehydrating and I worry about additional stress on my kidney as I am a transplant patient (post transplant 31 years, YAY!).  The kidney transplant also makes antiarthymics not a good choice. 

I don't know where this new Afib journey is going to take me, but I can tell you that the emotional toll is feeling heavy right now.  I hope that by reading about people's experiences will help me to process better and enlighten me with ways to identify triggers and communicate with my cardiologist/EP.

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing your experiences.

MJ

NOLADan avatar

Hello. I'm 47 years old and was diagnosed with A-Fib just before Thanksgiving. 

I had an ablation Jan 29, and I enjoyed sinus rhythm for 3 days!  A few days later, back to the ER.

Last week I had my first cardioversion and got to enjoy a nice, slow sinus rhythm for 2 days. Today marks my 6th day in Afib without a break. 

I was taking Toporol 50mg 2x a day, Flecainide 150mg 2x a day, and Eliquis 5mg 2x a day.  Now the doctor has stopped my Flecainide and Sunday I start taking 400mg Amiodarone 2x a day.

I've been reading up on Amiodarone, and I have to say I'm scared to start taking it.

Been lurking and reading posts, and just felt the need to vent a little! Thanks

 

chmayer avatar

Had bypass surgery in 2004. Relatively good condition up until now. I was walking frequently and heart rate elevated some (90-110). I would rest for a few minutes and all was fine again. Two weeks before a scheduled Stress Test. I had same elevation to about 105 with normal sinus rythm. During the stress test A-FIB. They said my heart was very strong. Was perscribed Eliquis with directions. I am 77,  BMI is 23, and take numerous suplements. Now I know what Afib feels like. I never had it before the test! Now anytime I do any physical labor or exercise I get afib and it takes about 20 minutes to an hour to recover to normal sinus rythm. My cardoligist was upset that I had been given the stress test.

My question is did (can) a stress test initiate/start afib???  What now? Looks like western medicine is doing its best to hurt me.

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